The Consulate General’s Official Residence in Seattle hosted a reception on December 10th in honor of the Japanese Emperor’s birthday. Many local officials and those with ties to Japan were in attendance. Kobe Trade Information Office was honored to attend alongside Hyogo Business & Culture Center. From our booth in the residence, we were able to hand out guides to the city of Kobe and introduce some local products to the attendees.
In particular we were asked about the Fukuju sake served for the toast, which is brewed by the Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan breweries in the Nada region of Kobe city. The sake had also been served during the dinner and reception for the Japanese scientist who won the Nobel Prize in 2012.
During the ceremony, Consul General Masahiro Omura presented KING 5 news anchor Ms. Lori Matsukawa with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation and former Washington Secretary of State Mr. Ralph Munro with the Foreign Minister’s Certificate of Gratitude.
Along with being a news anchor for King 5 TV, Ms. Lori Matsukawa is a co-founder and leader of the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, and works to promote Japanese language education and the preservation of Nikkei history.
The former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro has contributed greatly to Japan-U.S. relations, including the establishment of the Hyogo Business and Culture Center. His promotion of the sister relationship between Washington State and Hyogo Prefecture, alongside the development of many connections between Japanese officials and leaders, serves to bring Japan and the U.S. closer to this day.
In late August, KTIO and a delegation of 16 participants from Japan traveled to Silicon Valley in California. Among these 16 participants were entrepreneurs and students, who arrived in Silicon Valley with the goal of expanding their knowledge and expertise on business development, entrepreneurial growth, and successful methods for pitching ideas. From 8/22 through 8/27, KTIO and the team at San Francisco’s 500 Startups worked with these participants to develop entrepreneurial tools for success in business and technological fields.
Participants from Japan traveled throughout Silicon Valley, visiting numerous organizations and startups such as Google, ChatWork, Pinterest, Yahoo!, Apple, Treasure Data and Twitter. After exploring Silicon Valley’s unique characteristics and entrepreneurial history, these participants were given the opportunity to present a pitch to Zafer Younis and Diana Moldavsky, Venture Partners at 500 Startups. Five participants were chosen to proceed into a “championship round” of pitch presentations.
By the end of the week presenter Mami Takesada was chosen as the winner. All participants who presented were counseled and given advice by Zafer Younis and Diana Moldavsky, who regularly support international entrepreneurs through 500 Startups.
KTIO would like to give Ms. Takesada our warm congratulations, and extend thanks to 500 Startups for its continued support of entrepreneurial exchange between Kobe, the United States, and Japan.
The last weekend of July has proven to be an eventful one for KTIO. On Friday, July 24th, our office gathered for a barbecue with the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association to celebrate the Kobe Seafair Ambassador, Ms. Akane Kotani.
Earlier in the afternoon on Friday, July 24th, both KTIO and the Hyogo Business & Cultural Center attended a special Sendoff Reception for new members of the JET Program leaving to teach English and support local government throughout Japan. The reception was held at the residence of Seattle’s Consulate General of Japan, Mr. Masahiro Omura. A total of 64 new JET hirees will be leaving for Japan; five of the 64 will travel to Hyogo Prefecture, and two of those five will travel to Kobe. Of the JET hirees traveling to Kobe, they plan to work with both Hazetani Junior High School and Sakuranomiya Junior High School.
Ms. Akane Kotani arrived in Seattle on Thursday, July 23rd to participate as a representative of Kobe in Seattle’s annual Seafair Torchlight Parade. The Seafair Torchlight Parade heralds the beginning of Seattle’s Seafair festival, and is a renowned event where Seattle citizens, organizations, and businesses may celebrate both Seafair and the spirit of Seattle.
Below are photos of the Seafair Torchlight Parade on Saturday, July 25th:
Seattle’s Seafair weekend begins on Friday, July 31st, and continues until Sunday, August 2nd.
After the first leg of their visit to San Francisco and Seattle, Mayor Hisamoto and the Kobe delegation returned to San Francisco last week for continued exchange with San Francisco’s local government and entrepreneurial organizations.
Mayor Hisamoto, KTIO’s Director Sometani and the Kobe delegation spent Tuesday, June 16 visiting TUMML, an organization that aids entrepreneurs in impacting local communities. Mayor Hisamoto also met with Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro and Chief Information Office Miguel Gamino at San Francisco’s City Hall. Mayor Hisamoto also participated in a PR reception on Kobe-sponsored investment promotion at the residence of San Francisco’s Consulate General of Japan, Jun Yamada.
On Wednesday, June 17, Mayor Hisamoto met with Code for America. Code for America is non-profit organization that seeks to improve local communities by connecting open source technology with the transformation of government services. Mayor Hisamoto also met with Peter Hirshberg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur that focuses on connecting modern technology with business growth.
Mayor Hisamoto participated in San Francisco’s City Innovate Summit on Wednesday, speaking among a panel of city mayors about his unique approach to solving Kobe’s modern challenges. Mayor Hisamoto’s presentation focused upon growing Kobe’s IT, business startup, and biomedical sectors.
Kobe Trade Information office looks forward to future visits from Mayor Hisamoto, and will continue to post information regarding the results of Mayor Hisamoto’s exchanges with the local governments and organizations of Seattle, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley.
On June 11th, a delegation from Kobe joined KTIO’s Director Tetsuya Sometani in assisting Mayor Kizō Hisamoto with a visit to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Seattle. Mayor Hisamoto has come to the West Coast with a deep interest in collaboration between aerospace, biomedical, IT, and community programs in both Washington state and California. Since arriving on the 11th, Mayor Hisamoto has met with numerous organizations and progressive thinkers–including Apple, startup investment organization “500 Startups,” and Seattle’s own Mayor Ed Murray. Mayors Hisamoto and Murray met for the signing of an agreement that will foster partnership and exchange between Seattle and Kobe’s aerospace and IT industries.
Mayor Hisamoto, the Kobe delegation, and KTIO Director Tetsuya Sometani have returned to San Francisco to meet with the San Francisco Japanese consulate; exchange with San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee; participate in San Francisco’s City Innovation Summit; and much more.
Check back periodically for updates, photos, and videos from Mayor Hisamoto’s visit to San Francisco and Seattle. Read on for a photo stream of Mayor Hisamoto’s activities from the 11th through the 15th.